On this page we see the new Crystal rules in action, here’s a fuller description if you’re interested. We’ll keep explaining them in the story as they become relevant, like here, where we reveal that Trombone is the best Crystal Channeler around (because, of course, your rivals should be really annoying), carrying a more-difficult-to-handle-than-average Crystal.

Savage Worlds characters advance through five ranks, which in our case correspond to positions within Syn and to Crystal power levels.

Novice Agents are new and inexperienced; about a third of them die in various horrible ways in some ancient tomb or by some unknown beast. Novice Crystals give you awesome powers, but they are only “kinda okay”, compared to what’s coming next.

Seasoned Agents have survived a year or so (which equals a single Hunt, generally speaking), and good for them. There are around 50 Novice and Seasoned Agents, not including those currently training to become the next generation of Agents (about 2 teams at once). Seasoned Crystals provide you with one or two powerful abilities, usually a bit unusual compared to the Novice ones; A novice Crystal might allow you to create light or darkness, but a Seasoned one will allow you to control the shape and strength of your shadow, for example.

Veteran Agents are quite rare, there are perhaps a dozen of them. They usually work as specialists, using specific Crystals in the service of some organization who’s willing to pay Syn a lot of money. Some of them are doing special, undercover work for Syn. Veteran Crystals have a wide range of powers, or otherwise provide their bearer with several always-on powers, thus making the bearer effective and powerful at all times.

Heroic Agents are all Free Agents, meaning they’re free to do whatever they want; they’re still Agents, however, and therefore they’re required to occasionally report back and be sent on special missions. There are about a dozen of them, and they’re all well-known heroes in the eyes of the Novice Agents, paragons of Agent-iness. You can see two of them here. Heroic Crystals are amazingly powerful, giving you such abilities as “You can create and control fire, become a fire giant, and ignite fire elementals into existence”, basically making the Agent a one-person army. Most Heroic Agents use Veteran Crystals; Heroic ones are highly regulated and usually kept in the vaults.

Legendary Agents are the five leaders of the Council of Syn. Two of them are known (and feared) among the ranks, the other three keep to themselves. They are the only people allowed to carry the only five Legendary Crystals ever discovered. Rumors claim these Crystals are too powerful.

 

Let’s take a deeper look at the rules on this page:

Technically, focusing yourself doesn’t give you a +2 to the roll; instead, it allows you to ignore a -2 modifier. It’s not relevant in our case, which is why we ignored the distinction, but it’s still an important one.

Focusing indeed takes an action, like Lily says, but this isn’t (yet?) a combat scene, meaning that actions are kinda “fuzzy”. Raf being Raf, she wasn’t willing to wait and give Trombone a chance to act. Nadav allowed her to go first (since she’s a protagonist), but made it clear that should she fail, Trombone will, indeed, use the time given to him to prepare himself by focusing.

So when does Raf throws the dagger? Is it “Next round”? How can Raf act during Trombone’s “turn”, is she holding an action? (But wait, didn’t she just get an action?) Technically, if Trombone is rolling an action, he should, you know, get to do the entire action, yet he gets “interrupted”.

Here’s the advantage of not using combat rules for a scene like this: you don’t have to answer these questions. Tactical timing and action economy are powerful tools that make things clearer during action scenes, but when the atmosphere is all about stealth, out-manoeuvring each other, sneakiness and tension, it’s best to allow the combat rules to inform your timing, not dictate it.

And now it’s time for some big news.

 

Announcing Crystal Ball

Starting next week, we’ll be giving our patrons a new RPG article every month, focusing on new aspects, concepts and stuff from the Crystal Heart universe, with most content being usable in any setting that uses the same general genre (high adventure, colourful superpowers, maybe some obscure technology).

See the full details here, and please consider becoming our patron! We recently explained where, exactly, our money is and isn’t going and why. Patreon is not only our only revenue stream, it also proves as a very useful revenue stream. If you enjoy our work and think it’s good, please consider paying a monthly $1 or more for it, thank you!